The Original Trench Coats By Aquascutum and Burberry

John Emary who was a tailor and entrepreneur had produced the first waterproof fabric for coats in 1851, which was developed for the use of his company which was renamed Aquascutum meaning ‘watershield’ after the production success. Later during the Crimean War in October 1853 to February 1856, the British Army was wearing these coats during warfare. During the 1950’s Aquascutum raincoats were made from Wyncol D.711 which is cotton and nylon poplin, which were available in grey, navy and beige. In 1955 the coats were then lined in satin and woven fabrics and in the same year a new fashion forward structure to the coats were introduced making the length to the knee. Whilst supplying coats for military use, as mentioned earlier Aquascutum also designed and sold shower proof coats for the use of both men and women civilians. The reproofing process for raincoats after dry cleaning was then eliminated in 1959 and the Club Checked for lining coats was launched in 1976-1977. This pattern was later used in the 1980’s for Aquascutum’s accessories.

During 1879 Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabrics to be applied to trench coat designs and productions. In 1901 Thomas Burberry submitted his designs to the United Kingdom War Office. Which was then used for militant wear and in the Second World War he revamped the design to a shorter length and making the coat more practical to enable the soldiers with more mobility. When re-designing the trench coat, Thomas Burberry had to ensure that he applied the features demanded by the regulations of the Greatcoat,leisure wear and the features of the military waterproof cape. The British Army but only those with the ranking of Officers and Warrant Officers Class 1 wore these. The trench coats had shoulder straps for epaulettes, large pockets to store their maps and flaps and vents for odor prevention. Burberry like Aquascutum then also designed trench coats for public use and it was suggested that Thomas Burberry was then socially referred to as Burberry due to King Edward VII demanding, “Bring me my Burberry”.

On the 29th of August 1917, New York Times reported that there was a growing demand for British trench coats in Plattsburg. It also described the change in design, with the trench coat then featuring a waist structure that flared out to 84 Inches to provide the soldiers with more legroom when climbing in and out of the trenches. These were also reported to be rainproof and had a sheepskin lining which was removable at ones desire.

By the 1939-1940’s the trench coats were designed with ten buttons giving that smart militant appeal and were double breasted. These were produced in tan, khaki, beige and black. Both designs had the belts, shoulder straps and the cut off straps in the sleeves.

After the Second World War veterans took their coats back home and to campus with them for leisure use, which encouraged the popularity of trench coat use within the civilian society. From then on the trench coat to this day both companies have similar characteristics from the iconic trench coat made in the First World War. They both have the raglan sleeves, the shoulder straps, waist belts, double-breasted feature, D-rings (which back then was rumored to be used to hold grenades) and the greatcoat flap feature. The only differences are the waterproof cotton fabrication that John Emary had patented and Burberry use Thomas Burberry’s gabardines invention in their products.